2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 May 2003 15:29:24 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Ft. Detrick Unearths Hazardous Surprises
Ft. Detrick Unearths Hazardous Surprises
Cleanup Finds Debris Of Biological Warfare  advertisement
By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 27, 2003; Page B01

Two years of digging at the U.S. Army's Fort Detrick in Frederick has
unearthed more than 2,000 tons of hazardous waste -- including vials of
live bacteria and nonvirulent anthrax that the military did not know was
buried there, Detrick officials said.

Discovery of the pathogens at the former biological weapons research
center turned what the Army thought would be industrial waste removal
into the biggest cleanup in its history. So far, cleanup crews have
discovered more than 100 glass vials, many containing live bacteria, and
in a few, a nonvirulent strain of anthrax. The $25 million excavation is
due to end this year.

While the Army searches for evidence of biological and chemical weapons
in Iraq, Fort Detrick's cleanup saga shows how, nearly 40 years after
the United States ended such programs at home, it still struggles with
their lingering dangers. As in the Middle East, poor documentation, the
passage of time and the programs' secrecy have slowed the effort.

"You find it, contain it and try to figure out what it is," said Col.
John Ball, Fort Detrick garrison commander. "We're learning, but it's

In the tall grass off Kemp Lane in Frederick, deer leap, white tails
flashing, and cows graze nearby. When the animals die, they are
autopsied as a precaution. This is Area B, a 400-acre site that hosted
Fort Detrick's target range, cropland and, in its southwest corner, a
network of waste pits. Inside a specially pressurized and filtered vinyl
tent, workers in biohazard suits empty the dump of its Cold War trash
and secrets.

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